Little Women but with more booze and acrobatics

The Tumbling Turner Sisters: A Novel - Juliette Fay

The following review was requested by the lovely people over at Wunderkind PR who always seem to know just what kind of books I like. :-)


One of my favorite things about writing this blog is thinking up creative titles for the posts that somehow convey the essence of the book without giving too much away. (It's also usually the last thing that I do after writing the actual review.) The Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay has whispers of Little Women in that the story revolves around 4 sisters who are very different but each with defining character traits. However, this story doesn't take place in the home but out on the road as the girls and their mom leap (quite literally) into the world of vaudeville. It has a strong Water for Elephants vibe in that there is a host of rich characters that crop up and sometimes fade away after only a few pages never to be seen again. The book bounces between two of the sisters: Gert (the beauty) and Winnie (the brains). It's not a jarring transition but I would have liked to see from the eyes of Kit and Nell (the other two sisters).  Fay is able to weave real people (Cary Grant makes an appearance but you won't realize it until you read the author's notes at the end.) and historical events to fit into her narrative (I can't tell you what they are or it'll spoil it.). I love the fact that the theaters chosen for this book can still be visited today and I hope to get to see them in the near future. :-) Our story begins in 1919 with the family visited by two tragedies at once. One of them changes the life of a sister irrevocably and the other sets the family on a path that they never could have foreseen. As vaudeville performers, they glimpse a world that they never could have dreamed of and it strengthens their bonds while also testing their limits. There's romance, daring, anguish, and above all the lure of the limelight. My only regret is that the book ends in such a way that the reader is left feeling saddened that they may never know what became of these characters. I'll definitely be adding more of Juliette Fay's books to my TRL.